The makers Sylvester Stallone's upcoming boxing reality show The Contender are gearing up to block next month's (SEP04) debut of rival series THE NEXT GREAT CHAMP.

The Contender creators DREAMWORKS TELEVISION and reality TV veteran MARK BURNETT have filed suit in California's Santa Monica Superior Court against Fox BROADCASTING COMPANY and Next Great Champ producers ENDEMOL USA and LOCK + KEY PRODUCTIONS.

The suit seeks a temporary restraining order barring the planned 10 September premiere of The Next Great Champ, following a report issued by the former chairman of the CALIFORNIA STATE ATHLETIC COMMISSION, which regulates boxing in the state.

The chairman's report found several violations of the state "business and professions code" by producers of The Next Great Champ, says the agency's DEAN LOHUIS. The commission is set to review the report at its next meeting, set for 3 September (04).

In February (04), American TV network NBC clinched its deal for The Contender, in which 16 fighters compete for a $1 million (GBP555,000) prize with mentoring from Stallone and boxing legend Sugar Ray Leonard. It is due to debut in November (04).

In April (04), Fox announced plans for The Next Great Champ, in which a group of prize-fighting hopefuls slug it out for a shot at fame and fortune.

18/08/2004 02:24